Dear Mercedes: Please Stop Using Renault Engines
From the S-Class, the G-Class, the ML-Class and even going as low as the SLK, their cars are very impressive… but not if you go too low in the range. There, the dreaded Dacia engine now lives, firmly planted like a marketing tumor. What? Let me explain!
In 2011, they launched the B-Class, followed in quick succession by the A-Class and CLA, soon to be joined by the GLA. They were supposed to be revolutionary, based around a new modular platform that makes them sporty and alive, but somehow they also represent an involution for the brand.
A Mercedes mechanic once told me all their big engines are awesome, but the engineers don't know anything about making small ones. This appears to be painfully true. I still remember riding shotgun in the old SLK 200 "Kompressor", not being able to comprehend how bad the performance and fuel economy were as a balance.
The compact cars created by Mercedes, especially the A-Class, have landed smack bang in the middle of the hardest hitting market, where all the best champions are gathered and do battle. If you like, the European compact segment is like pro middle weight boxing, and the Golf 7 is the undisputed champion. It also has a lot of help from another boxer who trains in the same gym, the Audi A3.
Mercedes trains some of the best heavyweight champions, but for compacts it enlisted the help of Renault. The collaboration started when Daimler and Renault co-developed the Citan and Kangoo. That is also where it should have stopped!
Instead, they chose to use Renault's 110 hp 1.5-liter diesel engine in a number of application and will use another diesel, the 1.6 dCi on the next C-Class. This week, they did the unthinkable and dropped and even more basic engine. The A- and B-Class will be available with a 1.5-liter diesel making just 90 horsepower and 220 Nm (162 lb-ft) of torque. This takes both cars from 0 to 100 km/h in 14 seconds.
I wasn't going to say anything on the record about this, but forums are buzzing about this subject, calling these the first Mercedes cars with Dacia engines. This for something that costs from €25,882 in Germany. It's really bad marketing when the guy buying the cheapest A-Class, dreaming of an SLS for 1/7 the money, gets a Dacia Sandero for 3 times the money.
It's not just the idea that the 1.5-liter engine shared with Renault, it's the way Mercedes has thought this through. The automaker always has a defeatist attitude when it came to these small cars, saying that it's too expensive for them to develop platforms, while Audi and VW gang up with Skoda and SEAT joining in as well.
But looking purely at the facts, the A 180 petrol model has a turbo 1.6-liter producing 122 PS. Meanwhile, Audi has a 1.4-liter turbo with 122 PS since forever and the power is delivered lower down. And that's just the base model, the new EA888 engine is miles ahead of the competition. And just think how many Engine of the Year awards VaG has to its name in the sub-2-liter range.
So maybe Daimler needs to shape up, stop wasting money on stupid projects that stroke its ego, like powerful electric cars, and open a development center to make really good small engines.
If you like, Mercedes makes heavy hitters that forget to do their roadwork, forget to score points in a match and just go for the KO all the time. It's spectacular to watch, but you're always expecting them to fail. That's not how you describe champions. I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but if Daimler keeps on using Renault engines, sooner or later it's going to fail.
comments written so far
95% of the people are not aware about that.
After, I think that 90hp for a car like A Class is not enough. It is completely underpowered, especially when you consider the car's weight. But that is more a marketing problem than a Renault problem. Because the engines are modified (improved) compared to the one used in the Sandero or Megane. Just take a look at the performance of the A Class over the Megane with the same engine. Performance are better for the A Class, even if it is 100kg heavier.
Faurecia, a Peugeot owned company, has for first client Audi. So far, nobody has ever complained, and Audi's reputation has not been ruined for using the same supplier for interior than Peugeot.
I do not work in the automotive industry at all. And the price of a diesel Sandero in Germany is 12.090 euros. With no stop and start and 5 speed.
Actually, as far as I can see, the Megane is faster than the A-Class: 13 seconds versus 13.8 seconds respectively. I like your points, but please understand this is an editorial, not a National Geographic documentary. It's about ideas! My grandfather bough a Mercedes over 40 years ago. He's not with us today, but I don't think he'd like a Dacia engine in his car. We've accepted too much.
A friend was looking at buying a Vauxhall Vectra as a company car and was told by the dealer that it had an ?Alfa Romeo turbo Diesel engine?- it isn?t an Alfa unit at all, it?s a Fiat (technically Fiat Powertrain Technologies) engine. Yes, he was trying to make a sale, but that?s no excuse.
Most people don?t know, nor care, where their car?s engine has its roots. The only people who do are those who are so insecure in themselves that they ?have? to ?premium-ise? their car?s components to make themselves feel better. I tend to ignore such people.
Either grow up, or shut up.
Good point. A big plus! ;)
If you feel insecure in a car with 90bhp engine take the bus. A pure Mercedes one like Citaro. No one forces you to buy hybrid models if you are a purist and even worse a Dacia hater.
Just go ahead and buy a SLS 6.3 AMG and ask for a ECU remap to 90bhp to feel secure. :)
A Sunday driver relies on his car's performance. A pure driver relies on his own skills. Think about it.
Din pacate in zilele noastre meciul se duce intre Profit si Performanta. Profitul e in avantaj...
I understand that when you think of Mercedes-Benz, anyone would have great expectations.
However, welcome to the 21st century. Get used with globalization, cost reduction and every business caring less about its reputation and more about profit margins.
And what you are decribing is no problem, at all. It is just modern economy.
Would anyone feel better if you would not know it is a Renault engine, under an MB hood? Guess not. That's simply because nobody cares.
The same as you said: nobody stops buying MB (or BMW) despite having plenty of reliability issues for their price tags. The days of BMW's and MB's of the 70s and 80s, running flawlessly for decades, are long gone.
That's because people buy MB / BMW for their kudos and it is the same reason why you don't see the streets full of Lexus cars, despite offering better quality, reliability, performance and features for similar, if not lower price tags, for example.
If you don't like the idea of having Renault-sourced engines in a Mercedes Benz, then probably you don't like the idea of having same engines and many other parts, across all the VAG brands, PSA-sourced diesels in BMWs MINI and so on.
Is there any use to complain about getting same parts (in a limited number, I agree) both in an Audi and a Skoda?
Or to have identical engines, in both a Skoda Octavia Tour and a VW Passat, which has almost a double price tag?
However, most of the buyers don't care at all about who designed or manufactured their engine or any parts of their cars, as long as their expectations are fulfilled, either they want a car for its performance, kudos or its price.
Think also about the opposite situation: is Ssang Yong more successful if they use an engine and transmission designed, many years ago, by Mercedes Benz?
Actually, Kia-Hyundai are way ahead, without such claims, which confirms the fact that buyers really don't care about the source, as long as they accept a brand's rating.
The idea is that a premium manufacturer, asking premium money for a car, should use premium engines and not borrow some from lesser companies. Mihnea is right. Everyone wants a Mercedes-Benz engine in his MERCEDES-BENZ! That's why you buy it! Why would you get a Mercedes if it has a Renault engine, Samsung display, Recaro seats etc. It doesn't make sense! The thing is, most buyers don't know about the Renault engine when they buy the car and that's where articles like this step in.